The Polyvagal Theory - Stephen W. Porges

Gawan

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I'm currently reading that book.

It is very scientific and maybe not the most easiest read, considering all the medical technical terms, nonetheless it widens the perspective of the vagus nerve and many other things.

What I'm wondering, so far this book is based on all the scientific papers written by Porges, so is it then possible to read some later chapters first I'm interested in and skip some others for the moment?


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Approaching Infinity

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Legolas said:
I'm currently reading that book.

It is very scientific and maybe not the most easiest read, considering all the medical technical terms, nonetheless it widens the perspective of the vagus nerve and many other things.

What I'm wondering, so far this book is based on all the scientific papers written by Porges, so is it then possible to read some later chapters first I'm interested in and skip some others for the moment?


Polyvagal-Theory
I've just started the book, too. From what he writes in the intro, it sounds like as long as you're familiar with the basics (laid out in the first couple chapters), you should be able to skip around.
 

mb

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I haven't even ordered the book. Could you by any chance tell me about what the point size is? This one is still in hardcover so the print might be large enough for me to read. I have found some printed books, like Lost Christianity, unreadable because of the small, fuzzy print. Therefore I don't know where best to begin if you have already read the papers.

I did read the original scientific paper, and the later "Love Paper." It is really interesting reading if you can bear to wade through it. I obtained the papers as PDF files, sent them to my Kindle, and used the built-in instant dictionary to look up terms I had forgotten. That helped quite a bit.

What I have especially noticed since reading those two papers is that when something "grabs" me -- a movie I am watching, for example -- I can begin to identify the neurophysiological pathways that make that possible. I can see even more clearly now that one can do all sorts of things to another person by just knowing what buttons to push and how, something spellbinders and other pathological types know all too well, not to mention movie makers. Being more aware of these pathways makes it possible to build better defenses.

Another book that was helpful along these lines is Martha Stout's The Paranoia Switch in which she describes the manner in which "leaders" (spellbinders, etc) engage in "limbic warfare." I was already well aware of the practice, but not of the underlying physiology of the limbic system.
 

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I would NOT skip any chapters. Yes, it is a collection of papers, but each one - even though it may repeat stuff - builds on the one before. Frankly, some of it is so complex, it bears repeating.
 

Approaching Infinity

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Laura said:
I would NOT skip any chapters. Yes, it is a collection of papers, but each one - even though it may repeat stuff - builds on the one before. Frankly, some of it is so complex, it bears repeating.
Good to know!
 

mb

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Laura said:
I would NOT skip any chapters. Yes, it is a collection of papers, but each one - even though it may repeat stuff - builds on the one before. Frankly, some of it is so complex, it bears repeating.
This book is sounding too good to miss; I am going to go ahead and order it. I noticed that the second PDF paper that I read repeated a lot of what was in the first, and each paper repeated within itself. That does help a quite a bit, and after a while you start pick up the technical dialect.
 

RyanX

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Laura said:
I would NOT skip any chapters. Yes, it is a collection of papers, but each one - even though it may repeat stuff - builds on the one before. Frankly, some of it is so complex, it bears repeating.
Yes, good to know! I'm on chapter 3, and yes, it is heavy reading. Sometimes it takes 5min just to complete a page, shifting back and forth between the book and Wikipedia.

I did notice that he repeats a lot of concepts, so if you didn't catch what he said first time around, he'll usually mention it later on, maybe phrased differently which helps. I've got a bunch of parts highlighted based on questions I had, so maybe he'll answer my questions in the later chapters.

So far it's an interesting read though.
 

Gawan

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RyanX said:
Laura said:
I would NOT skip any chapters. Yes, it is a collection of papers, but each one - even though it may repeat stuff - builds on the one before. Frankly, some of it is so complex, it bears repeating.
Yes, good to know! I'm on chapter 3, and yes, it is heavy reading. Sometimes it takes 5min just to complete a page, shifting back and forth between the book and Wikipedia.

I did notice that he repeats a lot of concepts, so if you didn't catch what he said first time around, he'll usually mention it later on, maybe phrased differently which helps. I've got a bunch of parts highlighted based on questions I had, so maybe he'll answer my questions in the later chapters.

So far it's an interesting read though.
Thank you Laura, so I continue reading chapter by chapter.

And it is great that Porges also summarizes the chapters, which is indeed a pretty big help. Well, and I also have opened several dictionaries. :)
 

Gaby

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He repeats himself so much, each time adding something new that by the end of the book you'll have everything crystal clear in your head.
 

brainwave

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Reading it now myself. It is very important not to skip.
His repetition I think is also important for what he then adds so you can see how he builds the theory step by step.

Brainwave
 

Gawan

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brainwave said:
Reading it now myself. It is very important not to skip.
His repetition I think is also important for what he then adds so you can see how he builds the theory step by step.

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I got it today, as I continued to read on chapter 3 where the author connected some dots again and it was worth the effort to look up that many words so it is getting easier to read and to follow.

Anyway, I'm really excited reading that book.
 

paralleloscope

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I find this 4 part youtube series an excellent overview on the polyvagal theory in an easy to understand language (atleast what I think is an overview, not having the book). From a Colorado School of Energy Studies, lecture excerpt.

part 1 : 'The saving hug', introduction on porges and autonomic overview.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_E7MHn00Tc

part 2 : term polyvagal explored, autism study,and phylogony of heart regulation.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjeuvVjQTLU&NR=1

part 3 : evolution of the autonomic nervous system, introduction of the three tiered neural circuitry (triune autonomic NS) and it's stress responses.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hunp9GjsbuI&feature=related

part 4 : Jackson's theory of dissolution, learned responses and trauma recoverability. Programs and studies.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMmwpVvi5_M&NR=1
 

Laura

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Megan said:
Laura said:
I would NOT skip any chapters. Yes, it is a collection of papers, but each one - even though it may repeat stuff - builds on the one before. Frankly, some of it is so complex, it bears repeating.
This book is sounding too good to miss; I am going to go ahead and order it. I noticed that the second PDF paper that I read repeated a lot of what was in the first, and each paper repeated within itself. That does help a quite a bit, and after a while you start pick up the technical dialect.
Exactly! It was really rough going at the beginning, but by the time I finished, I felt like I had attended a year long course and really knew the material! I had to print out a little neuroscience dictionary and keep it close, but by the end, I didn't need it anymore.

Let me note this here: Chapter 10 is entitled: "Emotion: An Evolutionary By-Product of the Neural Regulation of the Autonomic Nervous System"

My note written in the margins is: "Or the Neural regulation system evolved to meet the demands of the morphogenetic field influences of soul incarnation which included a need to develop a way to express higher emotions and pro-social behavior."

That is to say, evolution and consciousness must work hand-in-hand and it is important for us to know exactly how the machine works so that we know what we are experiencing and observing in ourselves from the machine point of view.

The book to follow with is Peter A Levine's "In An Unspoken Voice."
 

Prodigal Son

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Laura said:
The book to follow with is Peter A Levine's "In An Unspoken Voice."
Ah, I've just finished reading this book, and was going to put the exercises into practice before starting on The Polyvagal Theory, so that they didn't get missed out -
Laura said:
That is to say, evolution and consciousness must work hand-in-hand and it is important for us to know exactly how the machine works so that we know what we are experiencing and observing in ourselves from the machine point of view.
- to get back in touch with 'me' pre-trauma.

Is this a good idea, or to start on reading The Polyvagal Theory? My procrastination rears its ugly head - either way!
 

mb

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Laura said:
...That is to say, evolution and consciousness must work hand-in-hand and it is important for us to know exactly how the machine works so that we know what we are experiencing and observing in ourselves from the machine point of view.

The book to follow with is Peter A Levine's "In An Unspoken Voice."
This book and the earlier papers offer a view of our "higher level" behavior that is quite different from what I imagined, even though my earlier reading had already pointed in this direction. I am still in chapter 2 (it is small print; I have to go slowly) but it was very interesting to see the heart described as a center.

Every time I feel a "visceral" reaction now I think about this material, and about the different subsystems each with its own potential effects, interacting and even competing to select a response. In one sense it is the same as what we have already learned, but somehow the information is becoming more real now.

I think that is because so much of what we are typically taught about ourselves and our nature is wrong. I know that I was taught emphatically (by religious folks) among other things that humans are not animals and that we do not have instincts. I didn't believe everything I was taught but still, studying ourselves at this level makes it easier to weed out the old ideas, wherever they may lie.

In An Unspoken Voice is only available in print as well. I am nearsighted, I only have one eye sharp enough for reading (optic nerve damage in the other one) and I need to find a better way to read small print. Any suggestions?
 
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